Thursday, December 29, 2011

Maps Maps Maps

           So it's been a while... a long while!  2 months to be exact.  It's been a hectic couple of months and a lot of fun as well.  We had a great Thanksgiving- first time to be in New York with no snow while we were there!  And we had a wonderful Christmas with our family.  A big surprise Colby and I received was a brand new DSLR camera! :)  I was not expecting that at all and I am SO excited about the photography possibilities we now have.  We've already taken over 200 pictures in just a few days.  Granted, a lot were just testing out the different settings but it's been a lot of fun to explore and play with.
         With school running up right to the 22nd of December, there was not a lot of time for the usual Christmas crafts and activities that I've done in the past.  Now that Christmas is over and the busyness of it all has passed, I've had a little more time to relax and spend some time creating, and pinning, and pinning, and pinning some more. :) I found this idea on pinterest a couple of days ago and decided this would be the perfect time to make it.  It was very inexpensive too.  You can find the original idea here.

Here's my finished product:

Now here is how I got there...

           I started with printing 3 maps from this website:  I knew I wanted to use New York and Indiana, but I wasn't sure on the 3rd state, so I ended up choosing South Carolina where we went on our honeymoon and had an amazing time.  
I went all the way to the bottom and chose the "reference" maps and downloaded the high resolution maps and saved them to the computer.  (I originally just printed them from the site but they were much too large to fit in my frame.  Therefore, I saved them and printed smaller versions.)

My maps

Then I carefully cut them out and got my frame ready.  I picked up a "float" frame at Hobby Lobby yesterday and it worked perfectly.  

Afterwards, all that was left was using some adhesive to attach the maps to the back of the frame, using my Cricut to cut out three 1/2 inch hearts, attaching those, and then putting the frame back together!

Love love love this frame now and I can't wait to put it up in a future project I am currently working on! 
The best part about this- low cost!
Maps: Free, printed from the computer
Hearts and adhesive: Free, used what I already owned
Frame: $10 originally, but I used a coupon and got it for $6
Total cost: $6    Wooo!

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and enjoyed time with their family and friends!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spooky Surprises in the Kitchen!

Tomorrow the kindergarten teachers are in charge of bringing in treats for the staff October birthdays so I decided to take some inspiration from pinterest (where else!?).  Since tomorrow is Halloween and we'll all be hearing about it from the kids, I decided to make some Halloween cupcakes.  Here were the results.  I think they turned out pretty cute.  :)

Mummies and witches' hats

Cute owls... gotta love 'em!

Spider webs.  These were actually my favorite to make.

And, of course, pumpkins :)

Whether you are taking some trick-or-treaters out or staying in to hand out the candy, Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Next Project

It's fall break... woooo!! :)  I am so ready for a couple days off!  I have been on pinterest (no surprise there) and I've gotten some inspiration for my next project.  I want to make a wall collage but I'm pausing on two choices: a.) where to put it that it will spruce up my wall but not take up too much space and b.) what exactly do I want to use... just frames? maybe a hanging lantern? a letter c?  I don't want to make it expensive and use things I already have and/or make some of the things on my own.  I'm still deciding but I am finding a lot of ideas.  Here are some I am contemplating.  They are nice eye candy :)

I like the lights above this one.  I'm thinking a mix of art and photos would be great.  I also like the bench/table below.  I'm still mad at myself for passing up on a great table at goodwill that would have been perfect for this.

You can find this here.

I love how this collage goes up the staircase.  Our staircase cannot accommodate this but I like the mix of a lamp, letter, photos, and quotes.
Check this out here.

This one is a little too solely black and white for me but I like the use of square, rectangle, and circle frames.  I like the letters and having things hanging, like the shoes.  Granted, I won't hang shoes, but I want to hang a lantern if possible.
Found it here.

I like this arrangement too.   Again, has a letter, quote, and a lot of pictures.
Find it here.

Love, love love this one...  It's my favorite.  The tables, the candles, the letter, the photos.  Just lovely.
You can find it here.

And for the mechanics of putting the photos/art/frames up without making a mess, I found a great tutorial here.  I'm hoping I can get a jump start on this while we are on break, but relaxing the next few days is my main focus. :)  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fun Fall Weekends

      I love fall; that is no secret.  But the last couple of weekends have reminded me just how fun fall can be.  Last weekend, we threw my dad a 50th surprise birthday party.  I was a little late in getting the invites out (thank you Columbus Day when mail doesn't run...) so I was worried people wouldn't have enough notice to make it.  Thankfully, we had a ton of people that were able to come and surprise my dad.  We couldn't really hide the cars, so he knew something was up when they got to our house but it was a secret until then! Those of you who know me are well aware that it is a miracle anything stayed a secret! :)
     We made chili, mini peanut butter sandwiches, and included all the fixings for chili.  Oh and apple cider to drink of course! I think I made a grand total of three or four trips to Kroger within 4 hours... that's a new record!  My mom was in charge of the cake and got a really awesome golf cart cake.  The party itself had a "fall fifty" theme, so it was really easy to find decorations- pumpkins, leaves, etc.  And I cut out a lot of leaves from my Cricut that matched our invites.  We also bought a new fire pit ($29.00 on clearance at Walmart- wooo!!!) and had a campfire.  It was a great night to sit by a fire to keep warm.  :)  Here are a couple of pictures from the party...
The cake and picture table

Cooper, me and Dad

    This weekend we had a little college friends reunion, which has been great.  I love having a four bedroom house because we have enough room to fit everyone comfortably and it's like a big party all the time at our house.  Our friends, Joel, Alie, Taylor, and Kellan came in from Ohio and Kentucky on Thursday and we've spent this weekend doing some of my most favorite fall festivities.  On Friday, we ate at Real Hacienda and visited AU to see the homecoming luminaries.  Then Saturday morning, I made a really good breakfast casserole and went to AU's homecoming street fair.  We've had an absolutely perfect weather weekend too.  It was beautiful outside!
   Afterwards, we went to lunch and then to the pumpkin patch!  Then I came back to start dinner- lasagna and garlic parmesean pull apart bread!  It was SO good, except I made a couple of changes to the recipe.  You can find the original recipe here.  The changes I made were I used margarine because I forgot to buy butter :) and I used italian seasonings instead of parsley.  I had made this once before and didn't love the flavor parsley gave it, so I fixed that this time around.  It takes some time to make, but boy is it worth it!  Here are some of my favorite pictures from this weekend...

And the pumpkin patch...

And dinner with friends...

Yes, we made it fit 10 people... :)

Hope you have had some wonderful fall weekends that you could enjoy before it starts getting too cool!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Date Night!

Ok, I realize my blog is mainly about projects, ideas, inspiration, etc.  But tonight, I'd dedicating a post to mine and Colby's date night.  It's creative, so I think it fits. :)  We usually do something each Friday night, if we can.  It gives us something to look forward to in the week and most importantly, we take time to enjoy each other.  We take turns planning dates and trying to come up with new and unique ideas.  About a month ago, Colby surprised me with a walk around the IMA gardens, dinner at Yats, and a "drive-in" movie.  He's a keeper. :)  

Our schedules have been so hectic and the weather has not been very cooperative, so tonight was the first night we got to do at least part of my original date I had planned a couple of weeks ago.  I cannot take credit for this date idea.  I found it on this awesome blog, Love Actually.  It has a ton of date night ideas.  I modified the rounds a little bit so I've posted the document I adjusted and printed out: Bookstore Date.  (*I do not own the clipart or the font.) 
First, we started off dinner with some of our favorite friends, Jason and Lisa, and then headed on to Barnes and Noble to go on our book hunt.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the night.

Round One: Find a future date night idea.  
Colby- "off the beaten path places in Indiana"  
Me- a cooking class of some kind!

Round Two: Find a picture of a place you'd like to visit.  
Colby- Scotland  
Me- The Best of Europe.   This did not surprise Colby. :)

Round Two: Find a book you liked as a child.
Colby- The Poky Little Puppy
Me - There's Monster At The End of The Book!

After Round Three (find a puzzle book to do together), we grabbed some Starbucks, put on some jazz music, curled up on the couch, and solved some puzzles together.

It was a great night and looking forward to tomorrow.  A Saturday to sleep in, visiting Riley Days with Mom and Dad, and catching up on some school stuff.  Loving the weather and hope you are too!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's Been A While!

Whew it has been quite a while since I posted... not really surprised with what this school year has entailed so far, but I was still hoping I'd keep up my blog a little better than I have!  Having my kiddos all day has been a brand new and really exciting change this year.  It's amazing to see how much a lot of them are picking up already and how much more we can get done in a day! :)  I think it will be great to look back at the end of the year and see just how far they really all have come.

Any hooooo, on to my real reason for posting!  This past weekend was the first in October and the first that really felt like fall to me.  It was cool, we got to enjoy chili and wassail at Mom and Dad's, and I noticed the leaves were finally beginning to change.  I LOVE this time of year, and I really love incorporating the fall colors into our home.  Here are some projects I worked on this weekend...

Began with two empty candle votive jars and a pack of artificial leaves...
(PS- Only paid $3.00 for the three things!)

Then I used Mod Podge and a sponge brush to apply the leaves.  I waited for it to dry, added some yummy "Farmers Market" Yankee Candle votives, and voila- cute fall candle decor!

On Saturday, after filling our tummies with chili and wassail, Mom and I decided to go bargain hunting at the Dollar Tree and Goodwill to make some pinterest-inspired projects!  Here is just one of the things I made...

I began with a dollar store 8x10 frame with a glass pane.  (It has to be glass for this to work.)

 I added pretty scrapbook paper and some words cut out in black paper with my Cricut, and ta-da!  A new dry erase board for leaving notes on our refrigerator! :)  I was pretty pleased with it when I finished- it matches really well!

I have more projects coming up soon!  Still in the works! :)  Hope everyone is getting into the "fall" mode and loving the weather we're blessed with this week! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011


I spend my Saturday night with my Momma tagging! :)  And no, not as in graffiti... as in real tags!  Here are some designs I came up with and delivered to some teacher friends this morning attached to some yummy goodies...

I used oregano colored distressing ink on the tag, Tim Holtz stamps, and roughed/chalked the edges. 

Chalked the edges

Love the little owl :)

This was such a cute one!

I don't have a link for the clear stamps I borrowed from my mom for the last three tags, but I do have a link for the Tim Holtz stamps I used on the distressed tag (number 1) with the rain quote.  [Side note... I ADORE Tim Holtz and his products- check him out!]  You can find the clear stamp set here.  It's very versatile and adds a perfect touch.

Hope your Monday is coming to a lovely end!  I still have sub plans to write so I better stop blogging and get sub plan writing :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I'm sure many of you have heard about, have been to the website, or have your own pinterest account.  If you do, bear with me.  If not, you need to follow my directions... Stop what you are doing.  (Ok, well read this, then stop what you are doing, haha)  Go to the website.  Check out the amazing ideas.  Maybe make a page of your own to start collecting the ideas for yourself.

It's such a unique place.  Before, when I found a blog I liked or an idea that I loved, I would bookmark that site.  Then, when I wanted to go back and look at it, I had to rifle through all of my bookmarked sites and guess which one was the right link.  And then half the time, I would be wrong and it would take me a much longer time than necessary!  Plus, I don't know how many times I've needed some ideas for a party or gift and I forget all those super ideas I had already bookmarked.  Alas, we come to my new obsession...

Once you have your own account (you have to request an invite and that might take a few minutes to get one from the website), you can look at other peoples boards, create you own, and repin other peoples' ideas into your boards.  You can also pin other sites you find to your boards as well.  Then you have your own collection of ideas and links to everything that you like.  For instance, if you had a party coming up, all you have to do is go other members party boards or in my case, my own collection, and there would be a plethora of ideas just waiting to be used!  No long searches necessary.  No guess work on finding the right bookmarked link.  It's all right there.  So please, if you have not checked this out, go do it now :)

Here's the link to my pinterest boards.

Enjoy!! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One of those days...

School has started back up and just as I might have guessed, I've been a little busy and blogging has gone to wayside.  So tonight, I wanted to add to the blog. I'm a bit grumpy after my day (the day is a bit long for some of my kiddos still :) so we're still working on our procedures especially in the afternoon!).  But I really want to end my day on a positive note so I thought I'd post.  I found this a few weeks ago and I think it's a good reminder...

Hope it brightens your day and reminds you to do one of these things today :)
More to come soon, I promise!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Classroom Library

Here's my big reveal of my classroom library!!

Enjoy! :)

Here's my prices:
Chairs: $7 a piece (plus a 20% off coupon from BB&B)
Pillows: 4.99 a piece at Meijer on clearance
Leaves: $6.00 for the bunch
Paper for the tree: free
Body pillow: old one I had but I bought a new cover for 7.99
Posters: Free- made them out of my red apple rewards calendar from scholastic
As for the books... you don't even want to know how much money I've spent on books over the past three years :)  If I have an addiction, it's buying books! :)

Tomorrow is the big day... first day of school! Here we go!! :)